Robyn Sullivan was screaming at the top of her lungs. She had started with cutting, sly insults that she knew would wound her daughter, Isabel, deeply. The Jeep was bowling along 17 a little slower than usual and Isabel was not even reacting. Her children, Aleta and Cyrus, were playing with some kind of mindless video game and did not notice their grandmother at all. Robyn became hysterical and started shouting profanities that she was fairly sure she hadn’t known. Isabel, her children and the Jeep bowled on as Robyn screamed and cursed.
The sheep and cattle on the farm didn’t know Robyn Sullivan was dead. They just knew that it was 8 am. and that they should be eating from the troughs along the fence. They slowly moved from one to the next until they were interrupted by the sound of Isabel’s ancient Jeep rattling down the drive. All heads came up and they patiently waited for the door to slam and the sound of Isabel’s jeans whooshing through the long grass.
“I can’t mow today. It’s got to be in and out.”, she thought.
Isabel’s children were slowly tumbling out of the back of the Jeep and making their way through the field towards the pond to see the bottle green ducks their mother had raised. The ducks, sighting the children swam quickly to the edge of the pond to crowd around their legs. They softly quacked and whistled while Isabel humped the bag of feed over and began to pour. There were sounds of contented eating coming from all corners of the farm.
“Are we staying long?” whined Aleta.
Isabel’s daughter Aleta was getting older. The farm had overnight become uncool.
“No, Baby, I just have to check the pump house and we’ll leave.”
“I’ll beat that smile off your stupid face, you bitch!” screamed the Banshee that was Robyn.
Isabel heaved a sigh. Even though her mother had died less than 24 hours previously, she was enough of a farmer to mentally note that the field was overly long and if she didn’t mow within 2 days, she would have to cut the field with the tractor to bring the grass height down and the finish with the mower to get the grass down to 2″. Any higher, and snakes would take refuge from the hawks in the long grass. This time of year, the snakes were shedding their skins and were blind and apt to strike at anything. A rat snake or a chicken snake was one thing. A timber rattler was another.
The beautiful display of old glass urns would have to be moved if she was going to mow. Originally the urns had been clear glass, some tall and narrow and some, short and squat and some, just twisted and odd. Over time, the glass had slowly changed from clear glass to a dark amethyst. Isabel was worried that if she didn’t move the glass display away from the pond now, that next morning, when she started to mow, she might forget the glass was there. Isabel had put the urns there years ago and it had taken a long time for the glass to turn purple. She checked the connections at the pump house and headed to the barn to retrieve the wheelbarrow.
“I hate you! I curse you! You’re going to die old, poor and in pain!,” Robyn shrieked louder.
“I’ll just move these, hon.”Isabel promised Aleta. Isabel smiled at Cyrus swinging a stick at some sort of space alien, or dragon or whatever was whirling in Cyrus’ brain today. As long as he had room to run, he was fine.
“I’ll kill your children! They’ll rot in Hell! Satan will eat their hearts for dinner!” Robyn’s throat should have been red raw, but of course it wasn’t.
Isabel moved quickly. This peace would not last long and she still had to get back to the house to meet with her brothers and sisters. Everyone was there except Dorie, who didn’t even know Mom was dead. “She could be in Paris, but you’d think one of her children could have returned the family’s repeated calls over the last 72 hours. ” she mused. Isabel had no way of knowing that it would be 9 more days before they heard from Dorie. It was critical that she call.
Mom had always been clear that she wanted to be cremated. She had never written it down and now the state coroner was refusing to cremate her. The state office said that they would only cremate Robyn Sullivan only if all the Sullivan offspring signed documents allowing it. Five of the six children had agreed to it, even though it meant Mom would have to have an autopsy, something Robyn had always feared. The state allowed 10 days to get the signatures. Where was Dorie and her kids? Her youngest was 30 and an M.D.. The had called the office and no one had been able to help.
“I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you!”, Robyn wailed.
Cyrus had slung himself into the barrow and was laughing as Isabel put all her might into shoving the wheelbarrow across the field. Aleta was running along side calling,”Lazy baby!” Breathless, they all pulled up in front of the dove house where the glass urns dazzled in the grass. “Everybody out!” called Isabel as she gently dumped her son to the ground.
“I’ll rip your children’s guts out and let fire ants sting them until they’re dead! I’ll beat your face in with a crowbar! I’ll drag your body down the road in front of your children and then I’ll kill them again and again! I’ll..” Robyn’s rage suddenly came together in one point and suddenly she was flying like a rock toward the amethyst urns. Purple glass shattered everywhere as the explosion of glass stopped the kids’ laughing and jostling.
“Was that Grandma?”, asked Aleta.
“Yeah, Hon.”, answered Isabel, momentarily unable to take her eyes off the broken glass. “C’mon, let’s go.”
Robyn had made sure that she had terrorized her daughter her whole life that she had amazing magical powers that came from dark forces. Staring at the purple shards, Isabel suddenly knew with certainty, that the dead could not hurt her.